Ethics and Morals

In class we discussed the ethics behind journalism itself. A specific example we took a great deal of time discussing and debating was this photo taken decades ago on a fire escape.

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Professor asked us some pertinent questions involving what we thought was right and wrong. I noticed a lot of my class mates explaining how wrong the picture was for various reasons. Some thought it was wrong to publish the picture because it is considered a dying scene. Others thought it was wrong because the reporter supposedly should not have taken a picture, but instead saved the woman and child’s life? I disagree with both of these for the most part. Obviously this matter is a tragedy and should be handled carefully, that is a given. However, it is an amazing photo that speaks volumes to people about safety in general. The picture is not depicting death itself, but moments before. Also, the journalist was clearly so far away that there is no possible way he could have even broken their fall even if he had been standing there waiting to rescue those two. Furthermore, the journalist’s job was to get a photo for his story that made an impact on people. There is nothing wrong with impacting people in a negative manner when it comes to persuading action to be taken to ensure better safety in the future.

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